2008 14/02

Gift Giving

I caught a few minutes of Dave Ramsey today in the car and the one call that I did hear was about gift giving. What are your gift giving practices? Do you buy everyone a gift at Christmas and on birthdays? Do you draw names at Christmas? Or do you just avoid giving gifts all together?

This is something that comes up in our house every Christmas and actually just came up again last week. Tim does not like to feel obligated to give gifts. He would rather surprise you with a present on some random day in March than give you a present just because the calendar and society dictates it. Me? I get sucked in by the calendar and society. Or maybe you could say I get guilted into it. I actually really do like buying gifts for others. I love finding that perfect gift that I know they’ll just love. However, 98% of my gifting experience is preceded by hours and days of stressing over what to get for a certain person and if they’ll actually like it. Usually I end up just getting a gift for someone that I hope they like, they’ll say they like it, and then it will sit in a closet or toy box until it is time to regift it or put it in the garage sale. At least I know that is what happens to those gifts that are given to me.

The other scenario that has happened in years past is that we all just exchange gift cards for the same monetary amount. In essence, we’re just exchanging money and calling it a gift. Why didn’t we each just keep our $40 and spend it the way we want?

Although we have decided to forgo gift giving on birthdays (we just have way to many nieces and nephews), things still get tense when Christmas shopping is brought up. The truth is that we are not in a financial position to be buying everyone Christmas gifts year after year, especially when we know those gifts are played with for a day or two and then forgotten about. I would rather save that money and spend it to come visit your family some time. I know Abbi does not need any more toys or clothes. Her toybox and closet are FULL! I would rather you save your money, instead of buying her a gift, and come to visit us for a weekend.

Does that mean that I’m completely against giving gifts? No way. Like I said, I really do enjoy giving (and receiving) gifts. If you feel moved to buy my kid a gift on her birthday, that’s great, but please do not make me feel obligated to buy a gift for your kid on his birthday. And don’t harbor some resentment towards me because we didn’t buy him a git.

Now, how do I explain all of this in a loving way to our families when the beginning of December rolls around this next year?

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